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Kiwi karting international Daniel Bray proved his versatility at the third round of this year's YÖGG Rotax Max Challenge of New Zealand in the Bay of Plenty over the weekend, making light of at times atrocious weather and track conditions to claim a breakthrough win in the premier Platinum Glass 125cc Rotax Max Light class. 13RMCRnd3BoPLightsDanielBray-1.jpg

The win - against a 29-strong field of the country's top Rotax Max Light class karters - came just a week after Bray finished fourth in the S1 class in hot, dry conditions at the opening round of the SuperKarts USA Pro Tour in Arizona, and the contrast - in karts, tyre and conditions - was not lost on the 25-year-old Aucklander.

"It was like night and day. In Tucson the temperature was in the mid to low 30s with the sun out all day. In Te Puke it was dry on Friday but it bucketed down on Saturday and was still pretty wet on Sunday."

While better known in recent years for his achievements behind the wheel of gearbox-equipped S1(USA) and KZ2 (NZ) class karts, Bray has returned to his direct-drive roots in New Zealand this year to help promote the range of karts he imports.

At the first two rounds of this year's series the Kinsman brothers, Daniel and Mathew, finished one-two and - with long-time rival Daniel Connor - looked set to again monopolize the podium at the third round.

But after qualifying 11th and finishing seventh at the first round, then sixth and running as high as third in the Final (before being forced out with a flat rear tyre) at the second, it was Bray who claimed pole at Te Puke, and Bray who went on to win the one class heat (the others were cancelled due to the conditions) from the Kinsman brothers and Mason Armstrong, the Pre-Final from Mitchell Beach and Mathew Kinsman, and the Final from Mathew Kinsman and Daniel Connor.

Daniel Kinsman ran Bray close in the heat, but broke a chain and ended up classified 28th in the Pre-Final.

That put the defending class title holder on the back row of the Final and his fate was sealed when he gambled on running slick tyres rather than wets on the drying - but still damp - track, lasting just three laps before sliding off and ending up classified 27th. 

Bray, not surprisingly, was also the big winner in terms of series points, and now lies third - up from sixth equal - behind Daniel and Mathew Kinsman with young Auckland driver Reid Harker now fourth, Daniel Connor fifth and Mason Armstrong sixth.

The wet conditions also played their part in the results of the other classes.

In Arai Helmets Junior Max young Palmertson North driver Dylan Drysdale fought and eventually won a pitched battle against fellow top class prospect Maddie Wise from the Hawke's Bay.13RMCRnd3BoPJuniorDylanDrysdale-1.jpg

Drysdale managed to pip Wise for pole position in the Time Trials on Saturday morning but Wise won the heat race and led the Pre-Final - a race in which the 22-strong field was split early by a multi-kart pile-up involving at least 10 competitors - before being passed by Drysdale on the last lap.

Wise also led the Final until a seat mount broke, allowing Drysdale to close the gap and again make a pass for the lead, this time with two laps to go. Wise remained in second until half way round the final lap only to lose control and end up stuck in the mud at the slippery top end of the circuit - literally - within sight of the finish line.

When the track was at its wettest highly rated Christchurch drivers Marcus Armstrong and Jordan McDonnell struggled for grip. But as the rain eased both came back strongly, Armstrong the talk of the Final as he worked his way from 20th to sixth to remain second in the overall series points standings behind Dylan Drysdale.

There was a new face on the podium, meanwhile, in Logitech 125cc Rotax Max Heavy, Aucklander Shane Hodgson topping the time sheets in qualifying  and - after finishing second to long-time sparring partner Aarron Cunningham in the class heat race - going on to win both the Pre-Final and Final from Cunningham and fellow class stalwart Brendon Hart. 13RMCRnd3BoPHeavyShaneHodgson-1.jpg

The Te Puke round of the 2013 YÖGG Rotax Max Challenge again attracted over 60 karters from across New Zealand with as many expected at the fourth round at Tokoroa in a month's time.

Class winners at the rain-lashed round of the YÖGG Rotax Max Challenge of New Zealand at Te Puke over the weekend were Daniel Bray (#62 Platinum Glass 125cc Rotax Max Light), Dylan Drysdale (#30 Arai Helmets Junior Max) and Shane Hodgson (#41 Logitech 125cc Rotax Max Heavy). Photo credit: Fast Company/Greg Henderson

2013 YÖGG Rotax Max Challenge of New Zealand
UPDATED 25-4-13
Platinum Glass 125cc Rotax Max Light
1. Daniel Bray; 2. Matthew Kinsman; 3. Daniel Connor; 4. Mason Armstrong; 5. Mitchell Beach; 6. Bradley Tremain

Points after Rnd 3 of 6 (including worst Round result dropped) Total without drop in brackets.
1. Daniel Kinsman 178 (211) points
2. Mathew Kinsman 170 (254)
3. Daniel Bray 163 (221)
4. Reid Harker 161 (225)
5. Daniel Connor 160 (213)
6. Mason Armstrong 154 (221)

Arai Helmets Junior Max
1. Dylan Drysdale; 2. Campbell Joyes; 3. Josh Adlam; 4. Jordan McDonnell; 5. Suvarn Naidoo; 6. Marcus Armstrong

Points after Rnd 3 of 6 (including worst Round result dropped) Total without drop in brackets.
1. Dylan Drysdale 178 (259) points
2. Marcus Armstrong 169 (231)
3. Campbell Joyes 167 (247)
4. Jordon McDonnell 166 (242)
5. Jacob Cranston 153 (217)
6. Maddy Wise 151 (213)

Logitech 125cc Rotax Max Heavy
1. Shane Hodgson; 2. Aarron Cunningham; 3. Brendon Hart; 4. Stuart Marshall; 5. Brendon Gridley; 6. Teddy Bassick

Points after Rnd 3 of 6 (including worst Round result dropped) Total without drop in brackets.
1. Brendon Hart 171 (247) points
2. Stuart Marshall 170 (249)
3. Aarron Cunningham 170 (170)
4. Shane Hodgson 161 (161)
5=.Jody Vincent 158 (158)
5=. Caleb Hartley 158 (158)

Masters (over 32) (including worst Round result dropped) Total without drop in brackets.
1. Brendon Hart 171 (247) points
2. Stuart Marshall 170 (249)
3. Brendon Gridley 154 (224)
4. Teddy Bassick 153 (226)
5. Mark Oudney 148 (148)
6. Graham Lambert 74 (74)

Rnd 1: Feb 16 KartSport Manawatu
Rnd 2: Mar 09-10 Kartsport Rotorua
Rnd 3: April 20-21 Kartsport Bay of Plenty
Rnd 4: May 25-26th Kartsport Tokoroa
Rnd 5: Aug 17-18 Kartsport Hawke's Bay
Rnd 6: Sept 21-22 Kartsport Auckland

 Prepared by FAST COMPANY on behalf KartSport New Zealand. To find out more about Kartsport in New Zealand contact Ross MacKay on 021 677 919 or via e-mail on ross@fastcompany.co.nz









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